BARCELONA—Don’t cry for Motorola. The company continues to make solid gear, and it’s finally starting to feel at home within the Lenovo product family. At least that’s the message from Rick Osterloh, Motorola’s president.
Osterloh spoke at a Mobile World Congress press event on Wednesday. The company hosted a similar sit-down at last year’s show, and this year Osterloh seemed more optimistic as Motorola embraces its future under Lenovo’s wing. Osterloh didn’t drop any bombshells, but here are some key excerpts from his chat.
On the Lenovo and Motorola partnership
“Motorola is organized as a mobile business group within Lenovo. We’re a fully intact business much like we were with Google. Strategically, we’re organized this way to maximize flexibility, and we’re sharing our supply chain function, which is a source of huge leverage. So we’ll do platforming and joint procurement and stuff like that [while taking advantage of] Lenovo’s amazing manufacturing prowess.”
On leveraging the Lenovo relationship in emerging markets
“In general, our product portfolio is a little more higher-priced than Lenovo’s. There’s a couple of price points where we overlap, and Moto E starts that, but Lenovo’s products are generally positioned as very thin and high-performing, while ours are about the user experience, fast software upgrades, pure Android, and some value added features.”
On the growth of Moto E beyond emerging markets
“The Moto E is an enormous product for us in terms of volume. We don’t compete on price. Fundamentally, we offer great value, especially when you compare the products to Apple, Samsung, or other marketshare leaders. We also have things that are typically found in high-tier phones in the Moto E. It has 3G and 4G options, a quad-core processor, and the screen is 4.5-inches. It also has Lolipop, which is extremely rare in this tier, and it has the same user experience and features that were first introduced on the Moto X.”
On whether Motorola will still provide timely updates
“Motorola technically issues the upgrades directly—not through Google. So, software updates won’t change.”
On the Moto 360 and its overall performance
“The numbers sort of look a lot like early days of smartphones in numbers, but we’re very committed to Android Wear—it’s in its infancy, but it’s continuously improving.”
On wearables competition
“We’re doing a few things we think are interesting. For instance, we’re investing in software, like Moto Body, and we’re going to keep driving upgrades to that functionality. Then, we introduced Moto Maker on the Moto 360. We think there’s no area where Moto Maker is more interesting than on wearables—it’s just the perfect spot for it. People like different watch styles and different watch faces.”
On cramming standalone LTE into a smartwatch
“The driving element behind our implementation is design, style, size. At the moment, adding that kind of tech makes it so that the watch becomes uninteresting again. It starts to approach smartphone territory.”